ISSN 2050-5337 - ISSUE 5

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Wednesday, 21 May 2014 00:00

Students' Perceptions Regarding the Expression of Creativity in Post-Soviet Estonian Society Featured

By Eda Heinla and Stanislav Nemeržitski

Abstract

Approaches defining creativity as inter-related co-constructs of individual and social environments are taken as the theoretical basis of this paper. The qualitative research reported in this article focuses on students' perceptions of the positive and negative changes in the manifestation of creativity in Estonian society that have taken place in the last decade. The current study is concerned with implicit theories of creativity, as viewed by laypeople (students). It is based on students' essays (n=57) on the topic 'Manifestation of Creativity in Estonian society during the last decade'. Results are analysed using content analysis.

With regards to the national level, students shared the view that, due to their historic background and culture, Estonians are very flexible in their thinking and open to unconventional solutions. At the societal level, students described two opposite tendencies: the changed social system supports the manifestation of creativity in people (initiative and creative solutions are acknowledged in the society), but at the same time, the creative initiative of people is not supported (due primarily to a lack of funding in the areas of culture, education and hobby activities). Also at the societal level, Estonians have become more self-confident and open, but at the same time, so-called Western welfare values and manners, and material welfare have become important for Estonians which can threaten their creativity. The steps which need to be taken to counteract this tendency are identified.


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Dr Eda Heinla

Eda Heinla is Associate Professor in the Department of Arts Therapies, in the Institute of Fine Arts at Tallinn University. She holds a university diploma from Tallinn Polytechnical Institute, a university Diploma in Psychology from Tartu State University, an MSc in Educational Sciences on Pupils' Creativity and its Correlation with IQ, Progress at School and Plans to Continue Studies. In 2002, she was awarded a PhD in Social Sciences.

Her thesis concerned The Relation of the Child's Creative Thinking to Social and Behavioural Factors. Her career as a university lecturer or researcher spans 25 years. Her main fields of research include: the child's creative thinking, the school environment and creativity, and family sociology.

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